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Boston Calling


How the world looks through American eyes and the myriad and unexpected ways the world influences the US

How the world looks through American eyes and the myriad and unexpected ways the world influences the US
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How the world looks through American eyes and the myriad and unexpected ways the world influences the US




Taking responsibility

An impeachment trial is a rare event in the United States but there is something unprecedented about this one. President Trump's troubles are rooted in his approach to US foreign policy and diplomacy. The president is accused of pressuring Ukraine's president to investigate his political rival Joe Biden and his son, in exchange for US military assistance. The implications of the senate's verdict will be felt far beyond America's borders. Former US ambassador Nicholas Burns says that despite...


Persian projects

The Trump administration insists that the president has a firm legal basis for ordering the attack that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. Legal scholars, though, are skeptical. We look into the American constitutional issues surrounding the president’s use of force. Also, the United States and Iran may no longer be on the brink of war, but Iran’s proxies, like Hezbollah, are armed and ready for revenge; An Israeli spy thriller goes on location in Iran, the story behind the production...


Power balance

Retired US Army General David Petraeus has vast military and intelligence experience in the Middle East. He led US troops during some of the most critical years in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, with the assasination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, General Petraeus has some thoughts about the significance of this action. Also, after its initial retaliation for the killing of general Soleimani, Iran still has other options, like cyber-attacks against US targets; we’ll also take a look at how...


Hindsight is 2020

It's almost been 20 years since the war in Afghanistan started. The Afghan people want a solution and the US is trying to make a deal. Everyone wants to forge a pathway towards peace and stop the threat of nearly daily violence. Currently, peace talks between the US and the Taliban are developing and could be at an important stage. Also, a cache of previously unpublished documents, including interviews with top US policy makers, describe many of the failures from the war in Afghanistan. The...


Screen time

Several former contractors, who did content moderation work for Facebook, are suing in Europe over the psychological trauma they say the work has caused them. The lawsuit is bringing new scrutiny to the content moderation ecosystem that Facebook and other platforms rely on to police what gets posted on their platforms. Author Sarah T. Roberts says that human content moderation isn’t going away anytime soon. Also, a North Korean cartoon called ‘Bunny Brothers and the Wolf’, may not be the...


The allegiance edition

Susan Rice, National Security Advisor and UN ambassador during the Obama administration, joins us to talk about impeachment, Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine, and the enduring legacy of Benghazi. Also, we look into President Trump’s latest executive order, which relies on a controversial definition of anti-Semitism; and there’s been a surge in applications for US citizenship ahead of elections in 2020 but wait times are getting longer and longer. (Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice...


Ukraine under pressure

At the center of the impeachment showdown in the US, is nearly 400 million dollars in military aid that the Trump administration temporarily withheld from Ukraine. At a US military base in western Ukraine, business goes on as usual but Ukrainian military veterans are worried that they may be losing support. President Trump has been a reluctant supporter of Ukraine, and he has called Ukraine a corrupt country on numerous occasions. Ukrainians are under pressure, as they fight to overcome...


Wars and peace

A US hacker faces criminal charges for allegedly helping North Korea launder money through cryptocurrencies, but those who know him have a different story to tell. Also, President Donald Trump’s long obsession over tariffs; the long, tempestuous history of NATO; the fight against drug cartels smuggling narcotics across the US-Mexico border; plus the band Che Apalache wants to make bluegrass music more inclusive. (Photo: In this photo illustration a double exposure picture with bitcoin coin...


First Peoples

Some people identify as Native American based on family stories. There is a more respected way to check and it does not involve a DNA test. Also, a proposed law would give indigenous people in Canada more say over their own land; during World War Two the US government built Japanese internment camps on tribal land; how the Choctaw Nation helped the Irish during the potato famine; and rock music legend Robbie Robertson recalls his childhood visits to family on the Six Nations Reserve ....


The innovation edition

Cooling down our addiction to air conditioning by building a more energy efficient AC. Also, it’s a “wind, wind, wind” for cargo ships powered by sails; engineering students in Los Angeles design quality-of-life solutions for refugee camps; a navigation app helps drivers get around Nigeria; the drive to thwart diseases like malaria and dengue by altering the genes of mosquitoes. (Photo: Air conditioning units in Antwerp, Belgium on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. Credit: Dirk Waem/AFP via Getty...


Unwanted attention

Impeachment hearings have entered the public phase in Washington DC. Congress is investigating allegations that President Trump withheld aid to Ukraine to pressure it to deliver political favours. But in Ukraine they are focused on the conduct of their president, Volodymyr Zelensky, in a now infamous phone call with Trump. Also, star basketball player Enes Kanter tells us how he became an enemy of Turkey’s president; a student suing the Trump Administration has her day in court; a...


It’s automatic

Farmers in the US face a labour shortage, so they’re turning to new technology to fill the gap. Also, meet “Pepper", a robot that’s already replacing thousands of jobs around the world; a researcher from Silicon Valley finds a robot in his hotel room and discovers a potential security breach; how 3D printing could help the global housing crisis; and an instrument that sounds like it’s from outer space, but was invented on earth 100 years ago. (Robots named “Pepper” work in banks across the...


Power and diplomacy

The impeachment inquiry has exposed some of the ways in which the US diplomatic corps feels undermined and undervalued by the Trump administration. We visit two US universities training a future generation of US diplomats to find out whether students there are reconsidering their career choice. Also, Samantha Power reflects on some of the toughest decisions she had to make while US Ambassador to the UN; we visit the Museum of the Palestinian People that is just blocks away from the White...


Who's to judge?

About 4,000 Liberians could be at risk of deportation after the Trump administration terminated their legal status. Earlier this month, they finally got their day in federal court in Massachusetts. They’re still waiting for a ruling, but in the meantime, many of these Liberian families are stuck in limbo. They’re hanging between the prospect of life going on as usual and a new reality in which they would be forced to return to Liberia. Also, we hear from an unauthorized immigrant who is...


Consciously green

In recent years, it’s become fairly common for people to take their own bags when they go grocery shopping. But for the past 18 months, Philippa Robb and her son, Haydn, have also been bringing their own containers, to avoid food packaging and other single-use plastics. Now Philippa’s goal is to have a zero-waste home. Also, Greta Thunberg is now a household name in environmental activism. Find out how she’s been able to inspire an international youth movement; With a camera strapped to his...


Covert affairs

An unauthorized Muslim immigrant from Uzbekistan was offered a deal by the FBI: You can remain in the US, but only if you'll spy on your fellow Muslims. He did, but then he decided he wanted to stop. Also, the Trump administration declassified thousands of documents that reveal details of Argentina's so called ‘dirty war’; In Northern Thailand, the grandchildren of one-time CIA backed Chinese rebels transformed what used to be a secret hideaway to a tea-drinking tourist haven; and the FBI...


Who's listening?

When US presidents get on the phone to speak with foreign leaders, staff are on hand to take diligent notes. But is there a set procedure of how calls with foreign dignitaries are handled? Tom Blanford from the National Security Archives in Washington, DC says that Trump’s style has been very different compared with his predecessors. Also, TikTok, is one of the most popular social media apps in the world but the company that owns it is based in China, and some say that's leading to...


The evangelical edition

As the 2020 presidential campaign in America heats up, evangelical Christians will be getting more and more attention in the US news media. They always do during election season as they have long been seen as reliable Republican voters. But people who identify as evangelical or born-again Christians are more than just a voting bloc. Evangelicals make up a huge swath of the US population and they are rapidly becoming more diverse than ever before. (Jason Petty is shown on stage performing...


The Mississippi: Pushed to the brink

The Mississippi river could be called America’s inland hydro highway. It carries US goods and commodities out to the rest of the world and allows trade flows to return. But up and down the Mississippi River, there are new pressures. The strain on the river system is only becoming more acute with the impacts of climate change. Reporter Jason Margolis recently traveled nearly 1800 kilometres down the Mississippi to assess the health of the river, its economy and its people. (A fish is pulled...


Into the thaw (Part two)

How quickly will Antarctica’s massive Thwaites Glacier melt, and what will that mean for global sea levels and coastal cities? Scientists spent several weeks aboard the research ship Nathaniel B Palmer, studying Thwaites as part of a five-year, international effort to try to answer those pressing questions. Our reporter Carolyn Beeler takes us onboard for a deep dive into the science and the stakes for our future. (An iceberg in the Southern Ocean, is pictured here as the Nathaniel B. Palmer...